Stepping up to the cheese counter can be an intimidating task. There is so much to choose from! Which flavor profile will I like? Do I even know what to ask for?
Buying cheese is like buying wine; so many different tastes, price ranges, and history of the product, but once you learn just a little bit, building a cheese board can be a lot of fun.
The perfect cheese board is different for each individual, so the goal is to get a few very different cheeses that you think your guests would enjoy. The fewest we suggest is three, and optimally we suggest five selections. Choose at least one of each cheese variety.
Soft or Semi-Soft Cheese – We like to use a nice Brie, Camembert, or other bloomy cheese as well as a fresh Mozzarella, creamy, spreadable Le Roule, or Mushroom Champignon.
Blue Veined Cheese – Stilton Blue or Italian Gorgonzola are both fine choices. Although Wisconsin is best known for its Cheddar Cheese, Pente Cream Carr Valley Blue has an earthy rich flavor with a smooth and creamy texture.
Hard or Semi-Hard Cheese – Mona Lisa Aged Gouda is one of our favorites. And Fol Epi makes it on every cheese board we make as it has such a mild nutty, slightly sweet Swiss flavor. We also like to include at least one Cheddar, either white or yellow. They vary greatly in intensity and in general, the longer the age, the more intense the cheese.
Alternative Milk Cheese – No board is complete without a Goat or Sheep or even cheese with a combination of milks. Colorado’s own Haystack Mountain from Niwot comes in a variety of flavors, and we can’t say there is one we don’t like. If you like hard cheese, Manchego would be a good choice. Or, try the Cabrales Blue from Spain, a blue veined cheese with both goat and sheep’s milk.
To step up to a complete charcuterie board, select three kinds of cheeses and two types of meats. We like to add Salami and either a dry cured Capicola or Prosciutto. Feel free to add something salty like olives, pickled vegetables of any sort, or nuts, too.
Last, but not least, add a fruit spread or honey to your board. Tony’s carries Primo Fruit Spreads, and we lean toward the flavors with jalapeno in them. Love the sweet pepper taste with cheese!
For even more cheese info and ideas on how to build a cheese board, check out our recent Q&A with Tony’s own Cheese Grocery Manager Noel Zimmer.
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